Every year you ask yourself “Is there still a benefit in attending edtech conferences?” Meanwhile, your manager may be asking “What new ways can you get professional development in education?” No matter what your role, you can get the most bang for your budget while getting the professional development and edtech refresher you need simply by acting on these suggestions:

  1. Prioritize edtech conferences that prioritize peer networking and training sessions. You will naturally gravitate toward conferences that focus on the practical tech tools you rely on daily, but you stand to gain even more when the conference also offers extensive hands-on learning from both industry experts and peers.
  2. Determine what you can better do online vs. in person. Sure, plenty of webinars and podcasts out there provide quick updates. But when looking to make meaningful connections and boost knowledge efficiently, nothing compares to an in-the-flesh discussion over coffee (or breakfast, or a drink at happy hour). Though we are a digital company, we know the value of human interaction.
  3. Do your homework. (After all, we are in education.) That means more than researching which MOOC or conference to register for this year. It means take full advantage of the resources offered to you after you register. If you sign up for a MOOC that has “after hours” Q&A sessions, make sure to go so you can learn even more about the topic. At any conference you attend, check the program schedule and ask around to find opportunities to meet with speakers and special guests. A great way to get the inside scoop on extending the benefits of professional development: follow the event sponsor on social networks.
  4. Always – as in EVERY SINGLE TIME – register early for in-person conferences. We know it’s not always easy to get your manager’s approval 6 or 9 months before the conference. But it’s worth it for all involved. Typically, early bird rates are offered when registration opens—but only for a limited time. These rates are often deeply discounted off the full price. As you get closer to the conference, the cost of both the registration and the flight will almost certainly rise. For BbWorld 2013, early bird rates are available now through February 28 – and save you a whopping 45% off full price!

Conferences including BbWorld offer that invaluable chance to both network with peers and download the latest technology advice at the same, fun-filled time. And with early bird registration, you can do all of that for a fraction of the cost.

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